Category Archives: sides

(Spicy) Baby Bok Choy

I am a firm believer that our bodies will tell us what they need.  Yesterday, mine was screaming for me to eat something green, so I listened.

In the spirit of transparency, it should also be noted that it often screams for chocolate.   I usually listen, however, even I need a good detox from sugar every now and then.

So, in the spirit of obedience, I picked up some lovely baby bok choy at the market, brought it home, and in less than 10 minutes had dinner on the table. And you know what? It was perfect.

Come cook with me!

Baby bok choy, ginger, garlic, chili paste.

Trim the ends off of the bok choy, and separate the ribs.

Rinse it well, and set it aside for a few minutes.

Chop up some fresh ginger and garlic.  You’re wondering how much? I went with about a 1/2 inch knob of ginger and 2 cloves of garlic, but you should do whatever feels right to you.  If it turns out too gingery, just called it “gingered bok choy” and no one will be the wiser.

I was out of sesame oil (I know, collective gasp) so I had to use good ol’ canola.

I should know better by now.  I need to think of a better kitchen inventory sysem.

Saute the ginger and garlic in your oil of choice for a minute or two until they become softened and fragrant.

Add a spoonfull of chili sauce/paste/whatever you have, and stir it around in the hot pan for a minute to wake everything up.

Add the bok choy back to the pan, along with about a tablespoon of water to help it steam.  Be careful though, it will splatter! This is not the point in time when you want to lean in and inhale deeply, trust me.

Give it all a stir to get the bok choy properly acquainted with the other ingredients.

Cover the whole thing with a lid to allow it to steam for 3-4 minutes, or until it’s tender-crisp.

Sometimes I eat right out of the pan, but this time I decided to use a plate.

I’m classy like that.

I even garnished with some gomashio to make up for my lack of sesame oil.

Spicy baby bok choy? Don’t mind if I do!

Ahh…just what the doctor ordered.  I feel healthier just for eating this, and I bet that you will too.

So, what shall we make next?

Please submit any and all suggestions on the “Ask Martha” tab and I will do my best to deliver.

Until next time…



Sun-dried Tomato & Zucchini Risotto

I just uploaded 215 pictures off of my camera and realized just how long its been since I’ve blogged.  Oops.  So sorry, friends, please don’t take my silent treatment personally.  It’s not you, it’s me.  Well actually, it’s my schedule but that is a minor technicality.

Sidenote: has anyone heard that commercial on the radio that says “It’s not you, it’s your metabolism!”? Lies, all lies.

Back to the food, since that’s the only reason 99.9% of you read this blog: I had to make the difficult choice on what to tell you about first, since I have pictorial evidence of approximately 7.4 things I have made in the last 2 weeks (Please don’t ask what the 0.4 is; it’s a sore spot and I’m still not over it).  I settled on sun-dried tomato risotto because, if you are anything like me, sometimes you decide what to make based on what you are trying to use up in your fridge.  Keep reading to see what happened as a result of this delicious experiment.

Let’s begin!

Chop up some onion, and remember, you get bonus points if you don’t cry while doing so.  In the game of Kitchen Stadium, this is very important.

Saute the onion in some butter or olive oil, until it is translucent.

Next, add a few cloves of garlic.

I’d like to take the opportunity to discuss with you WHY I didn’t add the onions and garlic to the pan at the same time.  Was it just because I’m too impatient to do a full mise en place? Partially, yes, but even I sometimes think things through. By adding it after the onions have already gotten started, there is less of a chance of it burning and becoming bitter.  See, I DO know what I’m doing! Sometimes, anyways.

While the onion and garlic are sautéing, bring some liquid up to a simmer. I used chicken stock, but if you’re cooking for a vegetarian a vegetable stock would work just fine.  I think that was about 7 c or so…but I didn’t measure. I’m rebellious like that. If you’re even MORE rebellious than me (I know, hard to believe) you could add some white wine too.

Once everything is good and fragrant, throw a few cups (I used about 2) of arborio rice in with the onions and garlic.  Stir it around to get it nice and coated, and let it get toasty – 2 mins over a medium flame should be sufficient.

Since I like colourful food and a clean(er) fridge, I also threw in a big spoonful of sun-dried tomatoes that were packed in oil and taking up way too much space thanks to their Costco-sized proportions.

Here’s where things get a little confusing.  For YEARS I was under the impression that risotto requires constant stirring for the 1 hr it takes to cook.  This may be good and fine for those of us that have helpers or who are trying to avoid doing taxes, but what about the rest of us? Are we EVER going to be able to make risotto without being a slave to our stove? Yes indeed, there is hope at last, and I’m here to offer it to you!

Ladle in a few cups of the hot liquid into the toasted rice/tomato mixture, like so:

Stir it around a few times, and then put the spoon down and WALK AWAY.  Despite what you may have been (erroneously) lead to believe, risotto does not require constant stirring.  At least my version doesn’t, and my version is delicious so you should listen to me.

After taking the opportunity to make your bed and straighten your shoes, follow your nose back into the kitchen and find this:

Lo and behold, all of the stock has been absorbed and no one had to stir it constantly! I sure hope you’re loving this as much as I am.

Add a few more cups of stock…

Give it a stir, and walk away.

I figured zucchini would be good in this risotto, if only for its colour.  Sorry zucchini but I’m using you.  Asparagus would have been good too, but I didn’t have any and wasn’t about to leave the house.

Chop some up and add it in:

Give it a stir:

And then add a few more cups of stock:

So close I can almost taste it!

Confession: I DID taste it and the rice was still a bit al dente, so I kept it going for a few more minutes.

Since we’re almost done, I figured I might as well get some fresh herbs ready. Basil was my herb of choice, but I suppose you could use anything you like.  I would like to have you believe that I walked out to my herb garden and picked this fresh from the bounty that is mine…

…but that would be a lie, and I have a fear that the 3 of you that actually know me in real life would comment on my inability to keep things alive and my image would be shattered.  I’m delicate, ok? I bought this at the grocery store and I’m proud to admit it.  Sort of.

Regardless of where you get your herbs, they can’t go into the risotto whole.  Since I was using basil, I made a chiffonade – i.e. I rolled it up and sliced it into thin ribbons.  I didn’t even attempt to take a picture of this because I just had the knives sharpened and because value my fingers too much.

Let’s go check on the risotto.  Do you think it’s ready yet? I sure hope so – I’m hungry!

Oooh yes – the rice is tender but still has a bite to it, and is super creamy.  We did it!

Never one to lose out on the opportunity to add some cheese to something, I threw in a big handful of parmesan on top of the risotto in addition to the basil.

Stir everything around, and test it for seasonings.  Does it need any salt? pepper? basil? cheese? Please don’t under-season your food; if you do you will break code 18.92.276 and we won’t be able to associate with each other any longer.

This picture doesn’t do the risotto justice.

This one, however, does:

Rich, creamy, hearty, and satisfying.  sun-dried tomato and zucchini risotto is most definitely a good thing, which is why you should make this for your friends, family, and enemies.

Disclaimer: Ok, maybe not the enemies part – it made a lot though, so scale things down if you don’t want to be eating risotto for the next 3 days.  I don’t mind leftovers though…does anyone else see arancini in the near future???